The Agile Strategy Lab brings together pioneers in agile strategy and leadership and collaboration science. The need has never been greater. Our organizations, our nations, and our planet face extraordinary challenges. It’s no longer enough to fix old systems – instead, we must create “what’s next.”
The Agile Strategy Lab (ASL) is a division within the Sanders College of Business & Technology at the University of North Alabama (UNA), specializing in training programs, workshops, and support on new agile, collaborative tools. Our guided approach and expertise help our clients get the results they are looking for and realize their true potential.
ASL is the original, authoritative provider of Strategic Doing training, consulting, and workshops and has inspired many other organizations to follow suit. In fact, three of the four authors of Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership work at ASL and lead the way in providing the most courses and workshops to date.
We also offer Rapid Improvement with Lean Tools - a guided method for changing and optimizing an organization’s administrative environment. Our clients have benefitted significantly and have been able to improve outcomes for their own clients in turn.
What are agile strategy and leadership?
Simply put, agile strategy and leadership are the essential action-oriented levers for change for organizations of any scope and size. Strategy - determining where we are going and how we will get there - determines the trajectory. Agile leadership is the ability of those in a group - not the individual "hero" leader - to guide the organization in pursuing strategy, with a focus on organizational learning and adjustments as circumstances warrant.
What is collaboration science?
Collaborative science brings together a number of disciplines and approaches, including design thinking, agile, innovation science, lean, social labs, asset-based development, appreciative inquiry, and collective impact. Each of these has tremendous value in specific situations and begs a larger question: how can people work together effectively in a rapidly-changing world?
What does the Agile Strategy Lab do?
From our base in the Sanders College of Business & Technology, we develop and deploy a suite of tools for individuals, teams, organizations, and communities seeking new approaches to complex challenges (see this description of the tools). Involvement with the Agile Strategy Lab can take many forms. It can span anywhere from a few hours to a years-long partnership: enrolling in a course or professional development workshop, including a learning opportunity in a retreat, conference or convention; using one of Lab's assessment tools better to understand your team, organization, or community; bringing us in a consulting role to augment your organization's staff; or tapping our research base to identify emerging knowledge.
In the past three years, over 50 client organizations from a wide variety of sectors (nonprofit, educational, government, healthcare, corporate, and more) have engaged ASL for its suite of tools, services, and training that are designed to improve agility, efficiency, and productivity.
- Strategic Doing Practitioner training Strategic Doing workshops
- Rapid Improvement events
- Agile Leadership projects
In addition, several hundred individuals have benefitted from enrolling in our in-person and online courses. We are proud of our track record of empowering clients in any number of ways and ultimately for them to get the results they were hoping for.
What is the Lab's history?
The story really begins about a decade earlier, when the core of the team joined forces at Purdue University. Originally part of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, we primarily assisted Indiana communities and regions to tackle issues of economic, community and workforce development. As the work grew far beyond Indiana or economic development, we had a number of collaborations with the University of North Alabama. UNA was developing a national reputation for its work in the region and beyond as they nurtured a vibrant technology innovation ecosystem in the Shoals area of the state. In 2020, we made that partnership more official, with the Director and Associate Director moving from Purdue to UNA and officially launching the Lab.
What we’re working on (a sample)
- State workforce systems
- Interdisciplinary research
- The opioid crisis
- Entrepreneurial ecosystems
- Long-term care systems
- Food innovation
- Technology management
- Local government reform
- Engineering education
What’s the connection of the Lab to Strategic Doing?
Many people first came to know our work through UNA Lab director Ed Morrison’s development of Strategic Doing, a discipline to structure collaborative work. Strategic Doing remains one of the signature offerings of the Network, but is complemented by a wide variety of other tools. Learn more about Strategic Doing.
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